February 13, 2009, 12:00 AM

With sites and stores on the same team, Wrigleyville Sports boosts results

The retailer of sports-related apparel now has up-to-date data on store as well as warehouse inventory, which means fewer instances of selling an item online and then finding it’s out of stock.

Katie Evans

Managing Editor, International Research

 

While the Chicago Cubs haven’t figured out how to win a baseball championship in the past century, a retailer based across the street from Wrigley Field took less than a decade to find a way to keep store and web inventory in sync. The answer for Wrigleyville Sports was software from NetSuite Inc. that monitors store and web sales, and reduces inventory immediately once a sale is made.

“If someone buys something out of the store, it comes out of inventory,” says Dave Weiss, Internet marketing manager at Wrigleyville Sports. “We never had that before.”

Until implementing NetSuite early last year, the retailer lacked an accurate count of what was available on store shelves and frequently found it was out of stock on items ordered through its web site. Before submitting orders for payment to its credit card processor, every order had to be manually processed to determine which items shipped and which were out of stock or back-ordered, Weiss says. Employees who used to do that work have now been repositioned in the company, including one as a warehouse manager, Weiss says.

The company, which also operates a store in Pittsburgh opposite PNC Park and a web site called ThePittsburghFan.com, has benefited from the multi-site capability of the NetSuite software. Previously, the retailer had to keep Pittsburgh merchandise both at the store in Pittsburgh and at its Chicago warehouse, from which it fulfilled web orders. NetSuite’s ability to track web inventory in more than one warehouse location has allowed Wrigleyville Sports to fulfill web orders for Pittsburgh merchandise from that city, eliminating the need to keep Pittsburgh-related merchandise in Chicago. That reduced its inventory on hand by about 27%, Weiss says.

That kind of cross-channel and multi-site visibility of inventory is among the benefits of NetSuite’s Multi-Channel Retail Management Suite, which the software company formally released this week, after testing by retailers such as Wrigleyville Sports. It combines the e-commerce features NetSuite has offered previously with an integrated store point-of-sale management system developed by a partner company, OnSite.

“This is a single suite that gives the merchant visibility into all changes. They can see all orders, track inventory and manage customers regardless of which channels they’re shopping through,” says Baruch Goldwasser, Etail/Retail business manager at NetSuite. Pricing for the NetSuite software starts at $499 per month plus $99 per user. The software is delivered in an on-demand model, which means NetSuite hosts the software and users access it through a web browser.

Besides the cross-channel features of the NetSuite software, Weiss says the design of Wrigleyville Sports’ web site has improved now that the retailer uses web page templates provided by NetSuite. He says the cleaner, more professional look of the site helped the retailer increase revenue by 5% and orders by 16% in the fourth quarter, its first holiday season using NetSuite. He says the checkout page also has a more professional feel, helping reduce shopping cart abandonment by about 5%.

Privately held Wrigleyville Sports operates two stores in Chicago and one in Pittsburgh as well as WrigleyvilleSports.com. The company does not report its web sales.

 

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